SCRKI N TnBest-Selling Poetry & Salable RefusenE.T., The Extra-Terrestrial; Written bynMelissa Mathison; Directed by StephennSpielberg; A Universal Picture.nConan the Barbarian; Written by JohnnMilius and Oliver Stone; Directed bynJohn Milius; A Universal Release.nby Stephen MacaulaynIn the 19th century, several poetsnbegan to feel a sense of doom as the empiricalnmethod inexorably encroachednupon the realm that was once theirnprivate domain. Clouds, for example,nwere once a billowing turf for castles;nthey became nothing more than meteorologicalnphenomena to be probed bynballoons and measured with barometers.nOne after another, the enclaves of thenpoets were ripped open by the scientists.nKeats’s Grecian urn ultimately becamenan object for carbon-14 dating. Literaturenvs. Technology. In many respects,njudging by the malaise and exhaustion ofnmost 20th-century poets and the seemingnuniversal dominance of the scientists,nTechnology wins the bays—but thenlaurels are now hydroponically grownnunder sterile conditions.nInitially, moving pictures were of annandrogynous nature: technologicalndevelopments made them possible, butnthey were used in magic shows. Fornseveral years—indeed, throughout mostnof its history—film has been the newnrealm for poets and storytellers. But withnthe emergence of another technologicalndevelopment, television, film began tonadvance with an eye toward technique atnthe expense of wonder. That is, the mainnthing was how something was done:nCinemaScope, Cinerama, 3-D: these inventionsnbecame important; viewersnwere to be satisfied with pointlessnpanoramas, bobsled rides and ballsnbounced off of paddles.nMr. Macaulay is a frequent contributornto the Chronicles.n46inChronicles of CulturenIn the 70’s, George Lucas and StevennSpielberg became masters of the technologicalnfilm. Lucas’s Star Wan andnSpielberg’s Close Encounters of thenThird Kind m^ke: gestures at storytelling,nbut still the blue-screen technique andnelaborate, carefully crafted models arenthe real wonders. They are films producednin a computer-controllednautoclave.nWith E. T., The Extra- Terrestrial,nSpielberg has turned the tables. Magicnsprings forth unbound. Certainly it is anfilm in the science-fiction genre, but asnwith aJl quality science fiction, people,nnot life, is the predominant concern;nspace ships and energy beams are propsnand nothing more. In E.T., Spielbergnpays homage, sometimes subtly, sometimesnobviously, to such wonderful creationsnas the films of George Melies, J. M.nBarrie’s Peter Pan, the film version ofnThe Wizard of Oz, andJ.R.R. Tolkien’snworld. But especially Peter Pan. Part ofnthe action takes place on Halloween: thennight when the faeries come out to play,nwhen magical creatures laugh and runnthrough neighborhoods. Spielbergntransforms the sylph Tinker Bell into anlittle creature from outer space. But still,nlove, something that can’t be expressednin a binary code but is totally manifest inna tear, keeps the enchanted alive.nnnParallels between periods are oftenndrawn to aid in understanding them. Ancommon comparison today is betweennour age and the 1930’s, primarilynbecause of the economic conditions. Onna subcultural level there is anothernsimilarity: the 30’s were the heyday ofnpulp magazines—Thrilling Mystery,nTerror Tales and the like. The 10*^ and 13″^npulps carried stories of a genre calledn”weird menace,” which were presumablyncrafted for the working man.nChildren, of course, would get theirnhands on them when they could. Initiallynthe stories centered on strange occurrencesnthat ultimately had rational explanations:nthe creeping fungus thatndecimated townspeople was created bynan oil magnate who had discovered oilnunder the town square and who wantednto drive the people away so that he couldnexploit it. Those who had large sums ofnmoney didn’t come off well in thisnDepression-age fiction. Later, the storiesnbecame more escapist, and gruesomenhappenings were genuinely preternatural.nOther variations were the lostworldnand earlier-age stories. The coversnof the pulps were invariably lurid,nshowing women—in some state of undressnor simply in tatters—being poked.n